Selecting a latex bed for a child

I have looked through many of the topics for selecting a mattress for a child. But I still have a few questions. Our son just turned 4 and is about 40 pounds. We want to buy a latex mattress for him. A few questions…

  1. Is Dunlop or Talayay better for a child? Does blended Talayay matter? Is it any more toxic than natural?

  2. Is a single layer of 6" better, or is two 3" layers with mixed firmness better? We are looking at this site for this option. They only have Dunlop Our Manufacturer Memberships :: The Mattress Underground but good prices and nice ticking.
    This is another option that would only come in 6"

  3. What firmnesses should we look at for each configuration and type (Dunlp or Talayay)

  4. Would there be any concerns about the toxicity in the laminate used to glue the pieces of this bed together? Latex Beds for Kids, Eco Sleep Hybrid Latex / Pocket Coil Mattress, Latex Mattresses-Talalay and Dunlop, All Products

We hope to get ourselves a latex bed in the future. I love the DIY option.

We don’t have an unlimited budget, but want something safe and comfortable. Thanks! I have learned more than I ever though possible here!

Hi want2sleep,

The choice between Talalay and Dunlop is a preference choice and one isn’t any better than the other. Both of them are available in a range of firmness levels so either one would be fine in a suitable firmness. There is more about the difference between Dunlop and Talalay in post #7 here.

You may have read this already but just in case Post #2 here and the more detailed posts and information it links to have more information about safe, natural, organic, “chemical free”, and “green” mattresses and mattress materials that can help you sort through some of the marketing information and terminology that you will encounter in the industry and can help you differentiate between them and answer “how safe is safe enough for me” so you can decide on the types of materials or the type of latex you are most comfortable with having in your son’s mattress. These types of issues are complex and are generally specific to each person and their individual sensitivities, circumstances, criteria, and lifestyle choices. Latex can certainly be a good choice even for people that are very sensitive or for children.

The “safety” of any type of latex is also not something I would be concerned about and all the latex you are likely to encounter (Dunlop or Talalay made with either natural or synthetic rubber or a blend of both) will all have been certified by either Oeko-Tex or Eco-Institut for harmful substances and VOC’s (see post #2 here).

[quote]2. Is a single layer of 6" better, or is two 3" layers with mixed firmness better? We are looking at this site for this option. They only have Dunlop but good prices and nice ticking.
This is another option that would only come in 6"…-latex-mattress-core[/quote]

This is also a preference choice and not a “better worse” choice. There is more about a single 6" core vs separate 3" layers in post #2 here. With a child it really wouldn’t make much difference either way since it’s unlikely you will need to fine tune the layering for a child.

Post #2 here and the posts it links to have more information about mattresses and children and there are some general guidelines for children in post #2 here. If you decide on a single 6" layer then I would probably choose something in the medium range and if you decide on two 3" layers than I would use a top layer of medium over either a medium or a firm layer underneath it. If your son is likely to be lighter than average then a slightly softer top layer (if you choose two 3" layers) would probably be fine as well since latex is more “supportive” than other types of foam materials. All of the suppliers you are considering will be able to give you good guidance about firmness choices for the latex they carry when you talk with them on the phone.

The glue they use would be water based rather than solvent based so most people would consider it to be very “safe” and I personally wouldn’t have any concerns with it but they will be able to provide you with more specifics about the glue they use than I would.

[quote]We hope to get ourselves a latex bed in the future. I love the DIY option.

We don’t have an unlimited budget, but want something safe and comfortable. Thanks! I have learned more than I ever though possible here! [/quote]

A component latex mattress certainly provides many options to “fine tune” the support or pressure relief of a mattress either by rearranging the layers or exchanging a layer but if you are considering going with a DIY mattress where you are buying the layers and the cover all separately rather than as a “mattress kit” then I would make sure that you have a good exchange policy on the layers just in case the choices you make don’t turn out was well as you hoped for (see post #2 here).

I’m glad the site was helpful to you :slight_smile:


Thank you for the great information. Would you consider a 4" medium firm Dunlop thick enough for a child?

Hi want2sleep,

It would be fine for a younger child that didn’t weigh a lot but once they start growing older and bigger and get closer to the 75 - 100 lb range or so it may be too thin,


In my opinion, I would not factor in the personal preferences of a 4 year old child into the decision. As you’ve probably already learned from reading, there are very specific recommendations for infants that come out of SIDS research and such. You’re past that stage now. But I still have a bias towards firmer mattresses for kids. I still don’t want them sinking in to a mattress much. And a lot of kids toss and turn, and sleep on their stomachs, their backs, and everywhere in between during an average night. So I really believe firmer is better for most of those positions. At 4 years, you could buy a mattress that they can grow in to. I think a 4" mattress will work fine but will need replacing in another 4-5 years. Whereas a 6" - 8" twin or full sized mattress could last from now until college. Lastly, I don’t think Talalay vs Dunlop matters nearly as much as the firmness. 6" of medium ILD Dunlop under 2" of medium-soft ILD Talalay might be a good place to start, and adjust as needed. This would also allow changing out just the 2" topper to something firmer as he grows and gets heavier.

Just my thoughts.

Thanks! I thought of adding the 2" Talalay topper, but it would have to be on something no thicker than 4" as we just bought him the Ikea Kura frame that only allows up to 6" mattress height for safety (although we will be using the mattress on the bottom until he is a little older). Is a topper made the same as a core? Will this be just as effective as, say, a 2 or 3" Talalay core?

Hi want2sleep,

Talalay latex and most Dunlop latex cores (except for continuous pour Dunlop and some molded Dunlop that is made in a 3" mold) are made in mold that is about 6" thick and then toppers or any thinner layers that are used inside a mattress are slit from the original 6" core. If the type and blend and firmness of the latex is the same then they would be the same material … just in different thicknesses.

If you are starting off with a topper on top of a 4" latex mattress then I would make sure that it isn’t too soft for a child.


These DIY places like DIY Natural Bedding will provide custom sizes from thickness of 1" through 6". So you could have them create a 4" core and use a 2" topper for a 6" mattress.

I haven’t read through your entire post, but do you have a local latex mattress shop where you could try out some beds and get a visual idea of what ILD might be right for him?

Lastly, height doesn’t necessarily need be a safety concern. (1) Either way at age 4, it’s probably advisable to have bed rails on the bed. (2) A solid step stool is always a good idea to aid a child in getting in and out of the bed. Nevetheless, I think at 6" with a replaceable topper, you’d have something that’ll work well for a while.

We went to an organic mattress store today. Very nice beds, but way out of our price range. So, we are trying to decide between these:
Our Manufacturer Memberships :: The Mattress Underground and purchasing two 3" slabs, one firm and one medium
or in one 6" slab in medium.
Any thoughts on either would be great.
As our son still has accidents, we want to put a wool puddle pad with a cotton mattress pad on top of that. I am wondering if this combination will reduce any benefits of having a nice quilted cotton/wool mattress cover. .
Thanks again for all the help.

Hi want2sleep,

Both of these are Dunlop latex but the Sleeponlatex core is a blend of synthetic and natural rubber (I would ask about the percentage of each) and the DIYnaturalbedding layers are 100% natural Dunlop which is a denser, more costly, and more resilient material. Other than this and the differences between two 3" layers and a single 6" core … they would both make suitable and durable choices.

Adding more wool on top would slightly reduce the contouring ability of the latex but this wouldn’t make any meaningful difference for a child and if anything it would also improve the temperature and moisture regulation of the sleeping system. It’s a good way to get as close to “waterproof” as possible without using a waterproof membrane which can reduce the breathability and temperature regulation of the sleeping surface. For those that prefer more natural materials the combination is a good choice although of course it will also be more costly than a membrane type waterproof mattress protector.


a question for future reference. How can you tell if a dunlop bed is a blend of synthetic and natural material. I ask, because when I read “made of 100% solid latex foam with no fillers” on the Sleep on Latex site, I thought that meant it was natural, not blended.

Also, how would you feel about alpaca puddle pads, ticking, and or pillows (we have alpacas)

Thanks again!!!

I would like to know this as well. I was just looking at the sleeponlatex site and I’m a little confused about their products. Both their mattress toppers and cores say “100% NATURAL LATEX”, but they show the Oeko-Tex certification only on the toppers. However on the cores product page they state, “Our 100% Natural Latex Mattress Foam is the greenest and most eco-friendly latex foam available on the market.” Does this mean their cores are the same !00% natural dunlop that can be purchased from other businesses such as Sleep EZ or

Hi want2sleep (and kll4),

For some reason I missed your question so I apologize for not replying earlier.

Any latex (Dunlop or Talalay made from synthetic or natural rubber or a blend of both) would be equally 100% latex. Latex is just a rubber particle suspended in water and can be either natural or synthetic. This of course would be different from 100% natural latex which means that there is only natural rubber used in the formulation and that it doesn’t contain any synthetic rubber in the mix. The only way to know the type and blend of any latex layers you are purchasing would be by asking your supplier for the type and blend of the latex because you can’t tell the blend of latex based on how it looks. If they are a knowledgeable, reliable, and reputable supplier (such as Sleep On Latex) then they will provide you with accurate information about the latex they sell.

There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here.

While it’s not a material that I’m particularly knowledgeable about … you can see some comments about Alpaca in post #2 here and the other sources of information it links to. How it specifically compares to wool would depend to some degree on the fineness of the Alpaca fiber and the fineness of the breed of wool you are comparing it to but it’s generally softer and finer than most wool breeds and is certainly a high quality material although it’s also more costly than wool. It would be suitable for any of the applications you mentioned.


I just want to add that sleeponlatex confirmed that they use 100% natural dunlop in their cores as well as their toppers.

Hi kll4,

Just for clarification (so that some of the previous forum posts that mentioned them make more sense) they used to sell both blended continuous pour Dunlop (their Pure Plush line) and 100% natural Dunlop (their Pure Green line) but they are now only selling the 100% natural Pure Green line.


Want2sleep, have you purchased anything yet? I would love an update if you have.

Also, Phoenix, can you tell me if it would work to use three 2" layers to create a 6" mattress for a child? I recently spoke with someone on the phone and when I asked about the cost of returning layers (we were discussing a 4" layer and a 2") in case they are too soft/firm, they suggested buying three 2" layers to minimize return shipping costs in case the 4" would be the problem layer. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, I hadn’t thought of that possibility before. Would three thinner layers like that affect the overall durability or support of the mattress?

Hi kll4,

I don’t think that it would make any meaningful difference for a child because children can’t provide meaningful feedback about their mattress anyway and as long as the mattress is in a medium to medium firm range (regardless of the number of layers) it would be fine for a child.

There is more about the pros and cons of using multiple layers vs a single 6" core in post #2 here but again for a child the benefits of having more options to customize the mattress would be questionable and probably wouldn’t justify any additional cost or complexity in putting the mattress together.